My Journey to Full-Time Blogging

Last night, I shared some throwbacks from way, way back when I first started blogging! I used to make Ted meet me at a wall so we could shoot a bunch of outfits, haha. Poor guy used to leave work at 5, meet me there at 5:15 and head straight to his evening MBA classes, lol. We took a photo now, 3 years later, and I realized I never have shared my blogging journey with y’all, and I think it’s about time!

I am a big believer life’s all about what you put in, is what you get out. That could apply with marriage, your job, your relationships, your goals, etc. Nothing comes easy and hard work will ALWAYS pay off. I started blogging 3 years ago and I am in complete shock that I am able to sit here and say this is my career! I feel like I just started and I am still learning something new everyday.

Before blogging, most of you know I was a wedding planner for venue called Chateau Cocomar. It was the most rewarding experience I have ever come across, but also incredibly challenging in so many ways. Imagine giving up your weekends and some weeknights, dealing with a million personalities, conflicts, and budgeting a brides money all for one day to be absolutely perfect. After 2 years, I was convinced (well mostly Ted convinced me, lol) that event planning for the corporate world was the better route with better pay and better hours. I landed my first corporate job at National Oilwell Varco as their event & trade show manager.

When I went in for an interview, I was told I would be traveling to events all over the world. I was so excited to get started, and I even thought I landed my dream job! Then in 2015, the oil market took a fall and our company put a freeze on all travel. This meant I was no longer able to attend the trade shows in London, India, etc. that I once was promised. Instead I was stuck at my desk with little work to be done, and that is when my obsession with following blogs started!

I always had a passion for fashion, but I was so intimidated by the industry that I really never pursued it. I was always the go-to person within our friend group when it came to fashion and all things travel. When I told Ted that I wanted to start a blog, he always asked, “How do you make a living with a blog?”. I honestly had NO idea how these girls got paid, but I always thought, hmm they must be doing something right?! They carried nice bags and wore fancy watches. LOL. I clearly had A LOT to learn once jumping into this industry. I did LOTS of research during my time stuck to my desk and learned a little about photography, affiliate linking, and brand partnerships. Only a few months later I was let go during massive layoffs at NOV and I decided I wanted to become a blogger. Again, not 100% sure how I would make this into a career, I just always believed what you put in, is what I will get out of it. I didn’t know if I was going to get paid much (if at all), but I knew it was going to be rewarding, and that it could always turn into something someday. I also always had a passion for small businesses and knew one day I wanted to start something of my own!

On the other hand, Ted was like “listen wife, I know you want to blog, but you also need to get a real job” lol. I knew I needed to learn photography for the blog so I decided to start a photography business in the mean time for family portraits. I was SO bad lol, but I think family friends just kept hiring me because they felt bad for me.

After 6 months of studying the industry, I was (and still am) so obsessed with everything, I found a name that wasn’t taken, Dress Up Buttercup! I started the blog and haven’t looked back. Even when I was making 0 dollars and when Ted was my only reader, I took it SO seriously. I knew that eventually every successful blogger posted every day on IG and posted 5 blog posts a week. SO that is exactly what I did. I had maybe 3 visitors a day for the first couple of months, but still was grinding away creating so much content. I stuck to a VERY consistent schedule and for the first 2 years of blogging I posted Monday – Friday at 8am every single morning. I also posted 7 days a week on IG. Slowly but surely I started to gain a following. I think whats important in this day of age is consistency. If you are constantly late to your job, is your boss going to trust that you are reliable to arrive on time? Probably not. Same answer with your audience! I would get so disappointed sitting at my work desk when I would spend the time going to a blog only to see nothing new was posted in days. I am not saying you have to kill yourself and be posting as much as I did, but create a schedule and stick to it. Now that it’s been three years, it is kinda impossible to do it all and I certainly don’t post 5x a week anymore but I do try to get 3-4 posts up and they go up in the morning. Take this advice with any social media, and it will help!

I also think networking is key. I was so passionate and dedicated to the blog, that I knew I had to get my name out there and network. You can only learn so much by research but other peoples experiences are so knowledgeable. I reached out to every PR company in Houston and introduced myself, letting them know I started a blog and wanted to be involved in whatever they had going on. I also reached out to similar in size (followers) to me via dm and asked to hang out, go to coffee, or events together. Once you start getting invited to events, it’s like a snowball effect. The first 12 months of blogging, I was at every and any event Houston had to offer. It was exhausting, but incredibly worth it. Every event I connected with someone that either became a new follower, a new friend, or a new connection.

I also remember starting the blog and regretting not doing it sooner. I was scared of failure and rejection from my friends but honestly only YOU can hold yourself back. Once I got over the fear of judgment from my closest friends, whom some I have lost after I started a blog, it was SO freeing. Letting go of that fear of judgment and focusing on yourself isn’t easy but incredibly worth it.

The blog really took about 1.5 years until I was bringing in my previous salary. I believed in it and I think that is most important! I remember rejection after rejection from brands/boutiques to work together. I have learned SO much over the past 3 years and am still learning something new every day.

I also am very overdue for a Q&A! That will be my next post in the next few weeks so leave specific questions about blogging below and I would love to share!

Lastly, thanks for following along. None of this would be possible without you. Yes, I could have been consistent, networked, checked all of the right boxes, but a blog doesn’t exist without YOU. I am not an actress, a musician, or have any specific talent, I have YOU all, and that is so special to me. So THANK YOU.

 

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95 thoughts on “My Journey to Full-Time Blogging

    1. Amen!!!??????❤️ So happy you started blogging Dress Up Buttercup!!! I’m curious wat the standard is for bloggers to make $ a year?

  1. This is so precious! One question I have is how did you figure out what hashtags to use on IG with your posts? I work with a non profit and we are trying to increase our followers

    1. Hey Laura,

      I kinda just hashtag what is relevant to the photo! Also looking at other successful accounts similar to you and seeing what hashtags they are using might help get some ideas!

      xx Dede

  2. Love posts like this! I literally “LOL’ed when I read that you were in the photography business but were so bad lol. Love reading your blog and posts!

    xoxo
    Sharan
    MyGoldenBeauty.com

  3. Does Alex always take your photos? Any suggesting for when you don’t have anyone to take pictures of you? Thanks for the inspiration! <3

  4. Love this! I am just starting out, and so excited! Same situation- I’ve always been a go-to for anything fashion and I’m obsessed with how this business is going to work! As far photography goes, do you have a nice camera and still have Ted take your photos? Also, how do you get people to follow you? That’s been the hardest part! Brands want to see followers and interaction so that’s important!!

  5. You spoke to my soul with this post!!! I was just talking to my husband about me blogging. He agrees that this is prefect for me… getting started is where I am really struggling… any additional tips would be greatly appreciated! I love following you! Xoxo

  6. Thanks so much for sharing! I just recently started a blog, something I’ve wanted to do forever. It’s been challenging to learn everything and grow but I get so much joy from it. You’re one of the bloggers I’ve followed since the beginning and made me want to start my own.

  7. I’m following my dream of opening an online clothing store! I would love to work with you once it is up and running! I love all of your pics and content! So motivating and appreciative!

  8. So Inspiring ?
    Is there any specific websites or videos that helped you figure out how to blog? I’m so interested but don’t know much about blogs or how the work!
    Were you ever scared to reach out to other bloggers or nervous when going to meet them?

  9. Love this so much, thank you!!
    How could you afford all new clothes & stuff for the 1.5 years when you were barely recieving income?
    Is blogging something anyone could do, even people who are super shy? Were you ever shy or always outgoing?
    Thanks again, love your blog so much! xo

  10. Hey girl! Your story and hard work is inspiring. Thank you for being transparent in your journey.

    Besides PR events like you mentioned above, how else did you add real, engaged followers particularly on Instagram? Similarly, how did you get your followers to actually click and read your blog posts when you posted that a new one was up? I feel like it’s one thing to tell your followers you have a new post up and a completely other thing for them to actually care enough to click the link and read it. Curious If you had an strategies or things that worked well for you.

    Thanks!

  11. I love your blog! When you were first starting out how would you afford large amounts of clothing to keep your content up? Also, before you were with reward style and could link your things would you just tag the clothing brands on your post since you didn’t have the swipe up feature?

  12. Love your style! And this story is the first really detailed one I’ve read about this type of success! Did brands start reaching out to you or the other way around? I’m curious about how you get paid to blog?

  13. Loved this and perfect for this moment in my life. I’ve thought about starting a blog for years and always made up excuses, but this year I’m committed to going for it! It was so inspiring to read this and i’ve loved following you! You just seem so genuine! Would love your recommendation on camera ( is iPhone pictures ok to start or is it a must to invest in a camera or photographer right away?) and what blog platform do you use? From my research i’m about to set up WordPress.org with Bluehost but would love your input( do you use a hosted or non hosted site?) would be so grateful for your feedback or hope to hear more on this topic in your next post!

    1. Hey Kristin!
      Yes girl you have to just go for it!! I will have a post up soon answering your questions!!

      xx dede

  14. This is so inspiring. I am working on my blog now and trying to learn all about this world. But I am so excited to start and glad to know I’m not the only one that feels lost at first. My question is, how do you get invited to events? Also, how did you know who to reach out to in order to make a business out of it?

  15. I would 100% love to leave corporate America for blogging. Blogging requires SO much work and it can be frustrating navigating the waters that is monetizing. You mentioned that you reached out to every PR firm in Houston. What did you say?? What came of those pitches?

  16. So exciting! So happy you did it!!! How did you create your blog? Did you create it or have someone else do it? I am starting a blog and need all the tips on creating if I should do it my self or have someone else create it?

  17. How did you start your website? You’d think I live under a rock with that question but I’m new to this. Also, tell me how to afford the clothes before you can make your living this way.
    I really enjoy your blog…thanks for sharing.

  18. I am so interested in starting a blog, has been on my heart for a while, but never knew how to start or even what to say when I do start. Thank you for posting this and giving me the inspiration and motivation to start the process…at least researching and getting to know the industry! Just started following you and love it already! Thanks so much ❤️

    1. Hey Madison!
      So great to hear this!! I love being a resource and helping in any way I can! I wish you the best of luck!!

      xx dede

  19. You are such an inspiration and I look to you not only for amazing fashion but for your positive outlook on life! You’re beautiful inside and out and thank you for everything you do❤️

    1. Hey love!!
      You are so sweet!! Thank you for following along and for all you do!

      xx dede

  20. I love your outfits and I love your positivity even more! I’ve always loved blogs and been intrigued by the blogging world. How do you decide which parts and how much of your personal life to share and what to keep private?

  21. I would love to know if you have any tips on growing a following / getting better engagement? I started a blog and have been growing slowly but surely on insta but I feel like i’m at a dead end! would love any advice! also, a more personal question- but how do bloggers make money! do they partner with bigger brands and then they pay the blogger? I need a docu series over blogging!! love ya dede!!

    1. Hey boo!
      Thanks for your questions!! I will have a post up soon to answer these!

      xx dede

  22. This post has definitely given me a boost of confidence as I am currently in the midst of creating my own blog! I have no idea what I’m doing but im hoping for the best! I definitely use bloggers like you for inspiration and motivation to be my best self during this process! It was really nice to read this!

    1. Hey girl!
      That’s how it feels at first, but with times it gets better! Love that I can be here to help!!

      xx dede

  23. I love following you! I always check your IG stories before bed to see what amazing clothes you’re wearing! You are blogging goals! Congratulations on your success! You really deserve it 🙂

    1. Hey love!
      Thanks so much!! Your support really means a lot and I couldn’t do it without you guys!!

      xx dede

  24. Loved your post! I am just newly starting a fashion blog.. you have been a huge guide in that! I feel I struggle a bit with developing content due to having a full time job during the week. How do you go about planning all your photos and content? Any advice would be so greatly appreciated !

    1. Hey boo!
      Thank you! Developing a lot of content is definitely one of the struggles and a full-time job makes it even harder! I will cover this in my post so hopefully it will help a little!

      xx dede

  25. Congrats, Dede! You’re my favorite blogger ever! Not only is your style on point but, your personality is so fun and uplifting!
    My question is: do you buy the clothes your wear on your blog or are they given to you? If given, do you get to pick them out?
    Thank you!

    1. Hey love!
      Omg you are so sweet! Thank you for following along and for your question!

      xx dede

  26. Congrats on all your success! You’ve been an inspiration to me for a long time now! So proud of you! I love all the advice and honesty you bring. Great post! <3

  27. Love love love following you, girl!! I’m so happy you found something you are passionate about and are KILLING IT!! I think that’s something we all strive for. I’m curious how you came up with content to post about 5x a week on the blog when you first started out; did you mostly just post about what was going on in your life at the time?
    P.s. congrats on reaching 400K! 🙂 You totally deserve it.

    1. Hey boo!
      You are so sweet!! Thanks for your questions, will have a post up soon!!

      xx dede

  28. Thanks for posting this! How did you reach out to brands? Do you literally just email them? How do you know their email?
    And also how on earth do you come up with that much content?! 7 days a week is a lot, I’d run out of outfits so fast!

    1. And also, did you start with a paid plan, buying all the subscriptions, or did you start out free and upgrade later?

  29. As many others I am also curious about your journey to your beautiful website. I have WordPress.com which is ok now, but I really would like to glam it up and make it professional. At what point did you seek a professional to work on your website? Or did you do it all on your own. I’m on the tech struggle bus with my blog haha

    1. Hey girl!
      I completely understand I’m not the best either lol. I will definitely go into detail on this with my q&a post!!

      xx dede

  30. Loved every bit of this. Thank you for sharing. I’m at still so unsure about starting to blog, however I do Try to post daily and realistically to what I do everyday. This is inspiring and maybebin the near future I will definitely label myself as a blogger.

    1. Hey Cathie!
      So glad you enjoyed it and I’m wishing you the best of luck!

      xx dede

  31. I love your blog!! I found you on Instagram randomly about a year ago and followed you because I love your fashion taste!

    Thank you so much for sharing about your growth. I want to start a blog (I think about it everyday!) but I have been going back and forth on a niche. How did you find your niche??

    1. Hey boo!
      Thank you so much that means a lot!! I will have a post up with answers soon and I hope that can help more!!

      xx dede

  32. I am so inspired by your blog! Thank you for all the tips on how to really do this, I just started and I love it. I am new at this and I would like to know what do you mean when you say PR company? I live in Miami, and I would like to start doing that and getting to meet other bloggers from my area ??? xoxo

    1. Hey Cyntia!
      So happy for you and hope everything is going great so far! Thanks for the question!

      xx dede

  33. Congrats girl! Very motivational. I have recently started a blog and even if it doesn’t go anywhere it is such a creative outlet and I do it for myself and not for the thought of making it big one day. Thanks for the confidence! ?

    1. Hey girl!
      Yes completely agree with your mindset! It is such a good way to express yourself and be creative!

      xx dede

  34. Thank you for being so transparent about how you got started. What kind of events did you attend and how do we find events that you say helped build connections if we live in a small city.

    1. Hey boo!
      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for following along and for your questions!

  35. This is great! Love following you Dede, you are so real and funny ☺️ Do you have any tips on how to tell your friends/family how to take the best photos of you, when you don’t have Ted or your blogger friends around? Thank you love!

  36. I love how humble and honest you are! I literally wish I could buy everything you post because you make it look so darn cute! Keep grinding girl!

  37. I’d love to know what website you used to start your blog! So many out there like WordPress; any advice?

  38. Thank you for posting your story. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for over a year now and my fear is holding me back. Reading your story has given me hope!
    How did you know how to set up your blog online? What’s the first step?
    Love your style….

    1. Hey girl!!
      SO sweet, I’m so happy to hear that! I know it can be scary, I definitely had fear at first too and some days still do!!

      xx dede

  39. I love your content and have always wanted to start a blog! Just a question about how you started it with your website. Did you just jump right in or did you have someone help you create your dress up buttercup.com initially. It all seems so intimidating is the reason I’ve been so hesitant.

    1. Hey boo!
      Thanks so much for following along and these questions! Will have a post up with answers soon!

      xx dede

  40. I’ve been telling my husband for over a year now that I want to start a blog. He’s always been supportive and told me to put a plan in place and start doing it, but my fear of rejection and judgement from people around me has gotten in the way.
    This year I told myself I just need to do it and take that risk. So that’s my plan. Also being in Houston there is a ton of events and networking that can be done but as a mom the night life is not my forte and I still have a full time day job that I really enjoy but it’s not my passion. What else would you recommend for networking? Also what blog platform did you use when you started out? Did you have a nice camera or a phone? and do you do you’re own editing or buy presets? Did you take any photography classes or just winged it?

    I so appreciate you taking the time to answer questions and navigate those who are just starting out!

    1. Hey Kendra!
      I completely understand where you’re coming from! It can definitely be scary at first, but once you go for it it’s definitely worth it in the end! Thanks for sharing and your questions!! Will be answering all of them soon!

      xx dede

  41. That is great inspiration!! You’re into photography, how do you edit your photos for Instagram? ❤️

  42. DeDe, this was such a great read! So inspiring!
    Omg I have so many questions…
    How DO bloggers make an income?
    How DO you make connections with brands? and gain a partnership?
    Did you hire a website designer? Your story is so intriguing 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey love!
      So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the questions!! Will be answering all of them soon!

      xx dede

  43. I started a new business just in November (Wedding Planning Books) and I feel that same way you did initially. You put so much into it even if a few people are following you and even when only a few want to purchase. It can be difficult, but you’re right when you put your heart and soul into what you’re doing it will eventually pay off. I think we think that since we’re a world that moves so fast we’ll have that instant gratification, but things take time. I love following you on this journey and I love your fashion sense! Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

    1. Hey Paige!
      Thanks for sharing your story! It’s so exciting that you started a small business as well so you understand the ups and downs along the way! Thank you for supporting me through the process!!

      xx dede

  44. This was exactly what I needed to see today. I have been blogging for 1.5 years and still struggling to make it a full-time income but I know it will happen for me eventually. I feel like it is what I am meant to do and hearing how hard you work, makes me think I need to step up my own game even more. I will definitely try more networking too! I did have one question in regards to photography…what camera do you use and/or what camera would you best recommend for someone that doesn’t have much to invest initially. Thank you again for sharing and always love your work!

  45. Thank you so much for sharing your blogging journey in this post. I always love following your Instagram and your blog has taken off in just a few years!

    Of course, it’s all about hard work and plugging away on a laptop when it comes to blogging, which can feel so lonely, so I am glad you were able to network to find other bloggers to hang out with.

    XO Amanda || Affordable by Amanda

  46. You’re so talented and I love following you! For your Q+A, can you address how you created your website? Did you do it by yourself or did you hire someone? And did you use a free website? I’m currently stuck on creating a website, as I’m a beginner and trying to use the free versions.

    Thank you!

  47. Hi Dede! I have been following you for a couple of months and am so inspired to start a blog! I also believe that what you put in you will get out and I am ready to put in the work. My question is.. I have an old Instagram account with about 13k followers because I used to have a children’s boutique shop. That account has sat dormant for a long time and there is zero engagement from followers. How can I spark that account back up to start using it for my blogging journey?! Also did you have someone design your website or did you go through a specific company? Last question I swear.. do you think it would be ok to make my blogger name jut my first and last name or would it be better to come up with something catchy?
    Thank you so so much for reading my long comment and if you have time to answer I’d appreciate it so much. I’m ready to do this.

  48. Dede-
    I am so impressed by what you have done every time I look at your blog! Very inspiring! Can’t wait to see how your journey continues to unfold!

  49. Congrats on your success! I’ve always felt like starting a fashion blog would fulfill so many of my dreams but how did you have enough outfits to always take pictures of when you were starting out? I’m intimidated by how much money it’s going to take to constantly switch things up and post pictures.

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